Medical Coding Salaries: Expertise Matters Most – Becoming an Expert can be Accelerated

Are you a coder/biller earning less than $60,000 per year?

Most likely it is because you don’t have the expertise. So what do you do?

How can you get the quality coding/billing experience without years in the trenches?

Let me see if I can help you understand why and what you can do about it.  I would like to share what we have learned over the years and offer you a roadmap to earning your full potential, sooner.

Why It Takes So Long to Become an Expert Coder/Biller

Medical coding/billing is like learning to read, write and speak a new language.  You have to learn the basics to understand how to read and write and you need to practice to become fluent.

Most coders/billers are given only bits and pieces of the expert equation as they move through their career.

In the beginning, coders/billers often have some official training, through a higher education institution and may earn a certification, like a Certified Procedural Coder (CPC) from the AAPC.  This is a necessary step and a great start to understanding the system and the basics of coding.

As coders/billers begin working, the first few years are spent learning the details of the billing process and the coding nuances of their specialty.  Occasionally, the less experienced coder, will be given more difficult coding/billing problems to solve as they learn more.

The following years, as coders/billers slowly gain more experience from the more challenging situations or taking coding/billing courses, getting additional certifications, the expertise continues to develop and expand.  This process typically takes over 10 years for coders/billers to become “fluent” – an expert.

The PRS Experience

I have worked for Physician Reimbursement Systems, Inc (PRS) for almost 30 years and have been the CEO for over 20 years.  We have operated coding hotlines for many specialty societies and have run the American College of Surgeons Coding Hotline for 27 years.  We have hired and trained 100s of coders throughout the years.  Since we are answering the most difficult questions, we have to have the best coders/billers on our team.  We have never been able to hire expert coders/billers that could immediately staff the hotlines, we had to train them all to be experts.

We had the same questions, how do you teach experience?  The answer is, you can’t teach experience, but you can accelerate it!  The real goal is to be an expert not ‘have experience”.

You have probably heard of the expression: “practice makes perfect”.  This is not the total picture for coders/billers.

In coding/billing, we live by the following two expressions:

  • “practice makes better”
  • “perfect practice makes perfect”

We have developed a 4 step system for teaching coding/billing that we have perfected over the last 20 years.

First, we start by teaching our proprietary system, “The PRS Way”.  This provides each coder/biller a consistent systematic approach for every coding/billing situation, from finding a basic code, to coding complex operative notes of 20 hour surgeries.

Second, we provide real questions, scenarios and operative notes for the coders/billers to apply the system and practice.

Third, we review each of the answers for coders/billers using The PRS Way and provide the perfect answer.

Fourth, we have a community of experts to answer and ask questions for ongoing support and learning.


Medical Coding / Billing salaries are based on credentials and expertise.  Once you have the credentials, the only way to impact your value and salary, is the expertise you bring to the table.  You can accelerate becoming an expert by perfect practice.  There are many opportunities for perfect practice available for free as well as paid solutions.  The free solutions do take more time to find and to verify the correctness of the answers.  Paid solutions are available as well.

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Scott Painter has extensive experience with medical coding information. He is one of the original developers of and continues to be responsible for all the development, data acquisition and quality control. He believes that correct coding and documentation is one of the cornerstones of quality patient care. His mission is simple: using technology and data to help physicians and staff maximize their reimbursement and save time and money.